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Chrysler Group launches second phase of PHEV minivan project

Three plug-in hybrid-electric Chrysler Town & Country minivans (earlier post) went into service with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), bringing to 25 the total number of such vehicles on US roads. With this completion of the demonstration fleet’s deployment, the second, data-collection phase of Chrysler Group LLC’s plug-in hybrid minivan project now begins.

Components of the flex-fuel PHEV minivan. Click to enlarge.

The focus shifts from engineering design and development to real-world testing and evaluation, said Abdullah Bazzi, senior manager of Chrysler Group’s advanced hybrid vehicle project. The plug-in hybrids will be subjected to temperature extremes and variations of drive cycles. Other deployments are in Arizona, North Carolina and Michigan.

Two additional plug-in hybrid minivans will be retained by Chrysler Group engineers. One of those vehicles will be subject to a short-duration test by Argonne National Laboratory.

The two-year project stems from a Chrysler Group’s partnership with the US Department of Energy (DOE). The DOE has invested $10 million to further the research.

Each plug-in hybrid Town & Country is equipped with an E85-compatible 3.6L Pentastar engine mated to a front-wheel-drive, two-mode hybrid transmission. It also is powered by a liquid-cooled 12.1 kWh lithium-ion battery supplied by Electrovaya. Total system output is 290 hp (216 kW) and total range is 700 miles (1,127 km).

The minivans have an electric drive range in the city of 22 miles, and charge depleting fuel economy (city) of 53 mpg US (4.43 l/100 km). Charge times are two-to-four hours at 220 volts with a Level 2 charge cord unit, and eight-to-15 hours at 110 volts with a Level 1 charge unit.

A fleet of plug-in hybrid Ram pickups also is being evaluated as part of a wider project. Chrysler Group dominates the minivan market, selling 13.4 million units globally since inventing the segment in 1983.


Dave R

Seems to be a lot of technical errors in this article:

1. 3.6l Pentastar is a V6, not a V8 (see graphic).

2. 6.6kW L2 should always charge the 12kWh pack from empty to full in ~2 hours.

3. 1.0kW L1 should always charge the 12kWh pack from empty to full in ~15 hours, but could be as low as 10 hours. Perhaps there's a good reason for a factor of 2 efficiency in charging - battery cooling or something?

4. Charge depleting fuel economy of 53 mpg US means what? Is that gas-only fuel economy and does not include electricity? Or should that be MPGe? Assuming that it can drive purely on electricity for 22 miles and uses about 11 kWh (can't use the whole pack), that does come out to around 50 MPGe.


3.6 liters !!! WTF is that about?


Fuel consumption, on longer trips at highway speed, will most likely be around 25 to 29 mpge.

For short trips, starting with a fully charged battery, it will probably do 50+ mpge most of the time.

In normal mixed driving, it may do close to 35 mpge


L2 chargers may be 6.6kW capable but the battery may need a slower charge.

3.6L - this is still chrysler. They sell hemis and know that everyone is a lead foot who needs lots of power to ward off the agents of the natural world that are out to get them. We are in a war against mother nature who is trying to kill us.

Charge depleting means that it is running as closely to an EV as it is designed to. Charge maintaining means it is running like a HEV. So, as Harvey said, it's 53 mpge.


More million dollar demonstration, testing and evaluations.

So called real-world - why? because it is in a real world where there almost no other EVs, or charging stations to determine how it "fits" when the roads are full of EVs?

No? What then, that any fool does not already know?

Stan Peterson

This is paid govermental boondoggling. DOE bureaucrats had money to spend on a meaningless demonstration project, so Chrysler undertoook to do it, and gain "greenie points" and get paid while doing so.

It proves little, except that you can construct a PHEV hybrid Minvan, that works. Using the 2nd generation FWD version of the GM/Daimler/BMW 2-mode parallel hybrid system, attached to a PentaStar V-6.

We learn that it attains 53 mpge, while running on a combined charge and gasoline, for slightly more than half a days typical driving distance, or 22 miles. It then reverts to typical ICE mileage of 21-25 mpg, for the of a typical 40 daily usage. The composite fuel consumption for a typical days use is the average of 53 and 23 mpg, on a 22/40 basis or about 41 mpge daily. Not bad.

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